The original “Bucktails” were the 13th Pennsylvania Reserves Regiment (42nd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment). They were so named because of the regiment’s custom of having each man wear on his hat the tail of a deer he had shot. The Bucktails were said to be all superior marksmen, and during the first year of the war they distinguished themselves as skirmishers and sharpshooters.
In July 1862, because of this excellent record, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton directed Roy Stone, a major in the 13th Pennsylvania Reserves, to enlist an additional brigade of Bucktails. Stone raised 20 companies of recruits by the end of August to send to Harrisburg for official organization into the 149th and 150th Pennsylvania regiments. The new volunteers, having proudly adopted the distinctive badge of the earlier group, also called themselves the “Bucktails” or sometimes the “New Bucktails.” The 143rd Pennsylvania would join the brigade in February, 1863.
At the beginning of the war, most of this brigade’s time had been spent within the fortifications of Washington, D.C. They were not significantly engaged at Chancellorsville, so Gettysburg would be their first major battle. Their most important contribution to the Battle of Gettysburg occurred on McPherson’s Ridge on July 1, 1863.
In our first Bucktails’ post Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Rich Kohr showed us the positions and actions of the Bucktails around the McPherson Farm and the Railroad Cut on July 1, 1863.
In our second post, Licensed Battlefield Guide Rich Kohr showed how the 149th and 150th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiments reformed on the western arm of McPherson’s Ridge to face Brockenbrough’s Virginia Brigade.
In our third post, Rich Kohr shows us how the McPherson Barn was attacked, some rock carvings, and revisits the story of the flags of the 149th Pennsylvania.
In our fourth Bucktail post, Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Rich Kohr described how the State colors of the 149th Pennsylvania Infantry were captured on July 1, 1863.
In our fifth Bucktail post, Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Rich Kohr describes how the National colors of the 149th Pennsylvania Infantry were captured, presents the story of Benjamin Crippen of the 143rd Pennsylvania, and shows the final Bucktail, Seminary Ridge positions on July 1, 1863.
In today’s post on the Bucktails on McPherson’s Ridge, we leave McPherson’s Ridge to show where some of the Bucktails retreated on Seminary Ridge, and through the town.
To see other posts by Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guides, click here.